We are so excited to share Reconsidered’s first summer reading list with you.
From searing exposés to pioneering classics to the fascinating backstories behind your favorite sustainable companies — we’ve compiled a list of essential reads to last you through your summer travels (and beyond).
Enjoy — and let us know which books really stick with you!
I’m deep into this new read from legal scholar and behavioral economics pioneer Cass Sunstein, which explores the important and relevant question of how social change happens. From political activism, to sexual harassment, to attitudes around climate change, Sunstein highlights the role of social norms and nudges in driving societal transformation. —Jess
Bonus: If this summary sparks your interest, download our free playbook “Making Change Sustainable” to dig deeper into how insights from the world of behavioral science can supercharge the way companies embed social responsibility into their business.
As our sector trends away from CSR as an afterthought, models like impact sourcing are becoming more relevant. This memoir from Samasource founder Leila Janah — whose hybrid for-profit/non-profit social enterprise model has ushered in a new way of doing business — is useful for understanding this shift. —Amirah
This book is appropriately summed up by the headline of an op-ed Giridharadas wrote (and we shared) last year: “Beware Rich People Who Say They Want to Change the World”. The full read is just as searing as you might expect — and if you work in social impact, it’s likely to spark all sorts of emotions, from frustration to guilt to utter agreement. Above all else, it will make you rethink the assumptions and context behind the notion of “doing well by doing good”, which is more important now than ever as we enter a new chapter of social and environmental urgency. —Jess (also recommended by readers Alden W. and Amelia A.)
🌳 The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from A Secret World (Peter Wohlleben)
This pick is a wildcard, but hear us out. German forester Peter Wohlleben humanizes trees by explaining how they co-exist within social networks much like those that exist in ours — communicating, competing with and supporting one another. It provides an important reminder of how interconnected our world is, and a timely invitation to reconnect with nature. —Sam
Even if you're familiar with the ills of fast fashion, this 2013 book is worth reading for Cline’s thorough overview of how the business of fashion has changed over the last three decades and her practical ideas for a path forward. If you've already enjoyed it, pre-order ‘The Conscious Closet,’ her consumer-focused style guide due out this August. —Bryn
🔥 The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World (Andrew S. Winston)
The cornerstone of my Intro to Sustainable Business class in business school, this book is a must-read for those new to corporate social responsibility. Winston was one of the first to articulate that sustainability efforts can’t exist as a silo within an organization, but rather that companies must pivot their entire way of doing business to a model that “solves the world’s biggest challenges profitably.” Winston offers up 10 practical strategies, like “Fight short-termism” and “Pursue heretical innovation,” each with a handy “How to Execute” section. —Jess
This pioneering guide to circularity — published long before #circulareconomy was a buzzword — encourages an approach to designing, manufacturing and consuming products that is built on systems of nature. It makes the point that making the world more sustainable will require completely reimagining how we live today. Fun fact: the original version was printed on a synthetic paper designed to be upcycled rather than downcycled. —Bryn
Patagonia is often held up as a best-in-class example of a responsible brand, making this memoir by its climber/environmentalist founder a must-read for anyone interested in building a business backed by values. —Amirah
Over the past few decades, the manufacturing sector has completely transformed China’s economy and society But how much do we know about the people fueling this transformation? This page-turner follows the everyday lives of the female factory workers who make our everyday objects, highlighting their hopes, their dreams, their relationships, their families and their changing view of themselves. —Jess
This collection (along with its companion ‘Perspectives on Purpose’) brings together insights from leaders at organizations like Ben & Jerry’s, Sephora, Airbnb, IDEO.org and Sesame Workshop, (as well as a set of essays by young voices in impact curated by yours truly!) to provide a snapshot of the state of change-making today. —Amirah
Dutch sustainable lifestyle expert Marieke Eyskoot has created a modern handbook for conscious living that is both practical and aspirational. Oh, and some of Reconsidered’s recommendations are featured too. 🤩 —Jess
More Recommendations From Our Readers
The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Paul Hawken). “The first book to open my eyes to the possibility that companies can be profitable while reducing their impact on the planet.” —Amy H.
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (Paul Hawken). “Blew my mind when I realized that ‘educating women & girls’ and ‘family planning’ have a direct and meaningful impact on reducing global warming.” —Amy H.
The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil (Christine Bader). “It’s hard to come out of this book still feeling skeptical about the potential for corporate responsibility”—Heather S. (also recommended by Alexandra D.)
Profession and Purpose: A Resource Guide for MBA Careers in Sustainability (Katie Kross). “Tips on how to network in a way that’s genuine and focused on building relationships — especially important in fields like CSR, where entry level jobs can feel few and far between.” —Heather S.
Changing Business from the Inside Out: A Treehugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations (Tim Mohin). “A great guide for rising CSR professionals filled with memorable anecdotes to emphasize the key lessons.” —Heather S.
The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate (Fran Hauser). “Why you should embrace your values and authentic personality at work, a philosophy that extends to CSR, since people shouldn’t leave their sustainability values at the door.” —Heather S.
Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation. (Denise Kelly DeLuca). “A clear, direct, illustration-driven book, laying out the core issues of why we are in danger due to being out of alignment with nature and how realigning with nature can save the planet.” —author Denise D.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Robin Wall Kimmerer). “A beautiful, ethereal, and compelling case for trusting indigenous knowledge of our land.” —Becky W.
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World (Andrea Wulf). “The perfect biography for anyone who isn't into biographies - this book reads like an adventure novel.” —Becky W.
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